How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

4865Title: How to Win Friends & Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie

Publisher: Gallery Books
Published Date: 1939
Buy Link: http://a.co/gTK4H18

Blurb: You can go after the job you want…and get it! You can take the job you have…and improve it! You can take any situation you’re in…and make it work for you!

Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie’s first book is a timeless bestseller, packed with rock-solid advice that has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie’s principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age.

Learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.

My Review: I read this book as part of a class I took for work.  I had actually purchased the ebook ages ago based on a recommendation, and when this class popped up I decided to give it a go.

What I Loved:  While pretty basic, all of the principles of this book are very clear and applicable to anyone at any point of our life, they are not just principles for people who work at a corporation.  In fact, I would say that most of the principles presented are just good people skills put into practice.

I enjoyed the healthy reminders of how as a decent human being, I should be listening, and keeping other peoples perspective in mind rather than only thinking of my own wants and desires.  There are a lot of nuggets to take from this book, but one of the best is the realization that every single person really has one deep set desire (whether they realize it or not) and that is to feel important.  We can help them achieve those desires by doing very simple things; addressing them by name, really listening, smile, being authentic in our desire to know about them and their life.  Simple life concepts.  And though this isn’t a Christian book at all, they are simple Christian attributes as well.

Not So Much: For each principle laid out in this book, there were several real-life examples given.  At first I was really enjoying the stories and little bits of history (as this book is quite old, and many of the examples are well-known individuals from U.S. history) – but after several chapters of these points/story/story/story setting – I kind of started to feel like I was just getting the points presented over and over and over again.  However, without all of these examples, the book would have been nothing more than a pamphlet.

The Verdict:  This is a great book.  It should be read of for nothing more than to be ‘told’ what we as humans probably already know to be true.  Sometimes, though, knowing something and hearing it presented makes a big difference.  If more people would apply the principles in this book, this world would look quite a bit different.

Vanishing Act – Erica Kiefer

24822717Title: Vanishing Act
Author: Erica Kiefer
Series: Lingering Echos

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Published Date: May 26, 2015

Blurb: A fresh start at college is exactly what Kate needs to ease the burden of her family secrets. When she meets the confident and charming Aaron Jackson, she weaves a new history for herself to fit into his seemingly perfect life. But the past refuses to stay where it belongs, causing a rift between their contrasting worlds.

When Ben reappears in Kate’s life, she is only pulled deeper into the childhood that she’s tried to forget. Driven by the abuse and pain that still lingers within him, Ben seeks Kate’s help in making a change. But in this journey for retribution, lines blur between courage, justice, and revenge.

Bound by their shared and damaged youth, Kate is forced to choose sides, and fast. The final act is almost here, and time is running out.

Vanishing Act is a Lingering Echoes novel that can be read as part of the series or as a stand alone story. Fueled by the scars from an experience in foster care that no child should have to endure, Vanishing Act touches on serious issues that can continue to impact abuse victims well into their adult lives. Vanishing Act is an emotional drama with a sweet romance mixed in.

My Review:  I dabbled in what I was wanting to be a weekly post called Judging a Book by It’s Cover, but as those things go, I find myself forgetting to grab covers – thus missing the post.  Once a couple weeks went by, I didn’t keep trying.  Though I still like the idea.  Anyhow.  I did this cover back then, and later purchased the book.  I just got around to reading it, and let me tell you…I was wayyyy off!  🙂

What I Loved:  I so loved the message behind this story, and the good and bad sides of Foster Care, and the kids who are often in and out of it.  More and more focus needs to be placed on the innocent, and the system, because I know that there are just as many good Foster Parents as there are bad ones.  And I’m guessing that is the heart from which this story was birthed. This entire story arc was stellar and what kept me reading.

This book was filled with angst and reality of life.  I did like how the truth wasn’t really avoided – but told in a real, heartfelt way.

Ben is the character I actually latched on to the most, because you could just tell he was completely lost and alone, and I so badly didn’t want that for him at all, even though I spend almost the entire book wavering between how unhinged he was and understanding and even commiserating his misguided thoughts on how to fix things.

As an offshot of the major issues of this story, I loved the dynamic between Aaron, Nick and Josh.  Their friendship is what I always imagine guys in college should be – and what I long for for my kids when they reach that age.  Maybe not the hardships some of them faced, but the family away from family kind of feel.

Not So Much:  I wasn’t really into Kate and Aaron’s relationship in this book. I loved him as a friend and a support, and the first chapters even I loved the chemistry of them, but I felt their story was kind of was there because it could be rather than it was a part of the overall.  I enjoyed the learning between the two characters, but I guess I just wasn’t feeling the relationship as much.

The Verdict:  A great read for sure!  I do recommend picking it up.  The book is clean and very age appropriate at NA, even YA would be fine.

Deja Revu – Week of 2/13/17

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

30851451Title: The Elusive Miss Ellison
Author: Carolyn Miller
Series: Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #1

Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Buy Link: http://a.co/eMkyeMp

Blurb: Pride, prejudice and forgiveness…
Hampton Hall’s new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter–all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend’s daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother–his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia’s world.

Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother’s, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn’t supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison’s fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible–he begins to care. But Lavinia’s aloof manner, society’s opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating, until scandal forces them to get along.

Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what will happen when Lavinia

My Review: I got this book from NetGalley (typically they tell you NOT to start with this information because readers will think your review is skewed…apparently I don’t care…), and it was a bit of a surprise actually.  I think I was just browsing the shelves of NetGalley one day and I have a rule – I can request 3 books at a time.  Once those three books are cycled through, I’ll go request 3 more.  This keeps me from over-committing myself. I hate when I do that and find myself in a rebellious (to my self) cycle of hating everything I’m reading simply because I obligated myself to read it.  It’s silly..but it happens.  ANYHOW, I don’t remember requesting this book, but I’m sure I did. I do love a regency novel now and then, and the mere mention of Pride and Prejudice probably would have me hitting “request” pretty quickly. And I find the lavender in the cover rather pretty, I’m sure that helped some too.  But when I got the email, I was like, ‘what is this madness??’

What I Loved:  The setting of course is a given, I loved both Gloucestershire, and the small-town life and community.  I also loved when the book picked up again in London, and all her glory.  I so enjoyed Lavina and her strong-willed ways.  Nicholas and his teasing and sarcasm.  I truly enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the characters who didn’t have redeeming qualities because they played their part in the story as a whole.

I do love the growth of the characters, especially Lavina, as she learned that her self-sacrificing ways were also a huge pride issue for her that had resulted in a prejudice, and judgmental spirit as well.

Another surprise for me was that this turned out to be a Christian novel.  I’m sure I knew that when I requested it, but since I just started reading without looking at what I was reading again, I was like..oh, okay.  I don’t always grab Christian novels because I find a lot of them to be a bit over ‘preachy’ – which I find unnecessary because well…Christians are the most likely to pick up a Christian novel.  However, this book had a surprisingly good sermon included.  The best I had ever read in a novel such as this.  It was so good I took a few screen shots and posted it to social media.  I was convicted as much as the characters of the story were.  Surprise-surprise.  I love when books buck my own judgmental ways!

Not So Much: I’m the first to tell you that I love a good re-tell.  I seek them out, actually.  But when I first started reading this, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be a Pride and Prejudice retell or not.  Actually, I do think it was supposed to show reflections of the classic story, but it was a story all it’s own too.  I’m still a bit confused on this issue.

Okay, so our main characters were so confused for almost this entire story.  I felt like they did a lot of not-talking about what was going on, causing all kinds of misunderstandings.  I am all for misunderstandings and reconciliations, but the number of times that Nicholas had to apologize started to get a bit ridiculous.  I was at about 85% when this ball dropped again and nearly put the book down in frustration.  There were plenty of other conflicts, in my opinion, that could have been expounded on, that this misunderstanding each other one needed to be laid to rest at some point.

The Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Even though I admit to having almost put it down, I am so glad I did not.  As I was wrapping it up last night before bed, the ending of the novel left me with that happy glow of an excellently executed HEA.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remark on how clean the novel was…but it is squeaky, and STILL a fantastic despite my small misgivings.

Deja Revu – Week of 2/6/17

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Original

Meme

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Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Paranormal

Science Fiction

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Fantasy

Paranormal

Romance

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Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Historical

Romance

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Romance

Science Fiction

Roseblood by A.G. Howard

28818314Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard

Publisher: Amulet Books
Published Date: January 10, 2017

Buy Link: http://a.co/40XXFxw

Blurb: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

My Review:  Roseblood was an unexpected surprise in January’s Owlcrate.  I mean, they give you hints about what you’ll be getting and I knew it was going to be a classic retelling, but from some of the teasers I was thinking it would be a ‘classic retelling’ in the vein of Pride and Prejudice or something of that nature.  I never in a million years would have guessed that it was going to be a Phantom of the Opera retelling!!!  I hadn’t even imagined one existed….now I’m wondering about others.

First, let me tell you, I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera…and it is by far my favorite musical ever.  I love everything about it.  And like the rest of the world, I was taken by the Phantom.  I love the music.  I own the movie version with Gerard Butler (and will be watching it again sometime soon).  And I truly loved being surprised by this book!

What I Loved:  This book wasn’t so much a re-telling as it was a world built off the original story.  I loved the pace set by this book.  I felt like the elements of the whole story were revealed perfectly, and it flowed quite nicely.  The setting, the characters, the story, all of it kept me captivated.  There were no mention of the actual musical’s songs or dances, the book still brought to memory my theater experience.  I enjoyed that.  As I said, this wasn’t a re-telling exactly, but there were scenes included that well-enough reflect the story we all know.

The romance between Rune and Thorn was so sweet and beautiful.  There are underlying layers to their relationship, things that in real life (or at least ME in real life)  would have had a hard time just simply accepting; Rune does accept easily, however the pacing of the relationship was still just right.  And without a touch of ‘unsavory events’ this couple still made my heart beat faster and me sigh with that contentment you get when reading about first love.

Not So Much:  There were a few holes in my opinion.  Or maybe not holes, but places where at first Rune was completely oblivious about things, and then suddenly she is completely in the know using terminology that she shouldn’t quite understand (as far as I could tell).  I don’t know if I missed something while reading, or if it was supposed to be in those gap-times where the characters do spend time together but it’s not written in the book in detail…however I did think, ‘wait…how did she know that, or come to that?’

The Verdict:  I loved this book!  There’s not much more to it than that.  It’s a clean read, I would let my 11 year old daughter read it if she wanted to.  (And she would LOOVE Diablo, the opera cat, if she did).

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Take 2

233956801Title: Illuminae
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Buy Link: http://a.co/2fOj0IS

Blurb: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review:  Why yes, I have already reviewed Illuminea, but since I read the book a few weeks ago, I also decided to listen to the audio book, and I wanted to give you a brief update on my review.  A few things to keep in mind, if you will…

What I Loved:  Okay, in my humble opinion, if you want to get the full true-blue experience of Illuminea, you reallllly need to do both the hardback and the audio book.  The hardback is so visually awesome, filled with documents and such.  The audio though, it has so much personality and flair!  There is a long list of narrators, and they all do an excellent job!  My husband also listened to this book, and it was funny when he was like, “I like that British dude.” “Oh, Aiden (the computer) is freaky.”  “Wait…that wasn’t Aiden I was talking about…”  It really is done so well, it ranks right up there with the Harry Potter audio books and Beauty Queens by Libba Bray.

Not So Much:  Not sure if you’ll recall, but in my original review I indicated that because of the censorship of the ‘document’ that this book was pretty clean.  This isn’t quite as true for the Audio book.  I mean, it’s still censored, however it mutes out the words, leaving just enough to  help you know exactly what was said (which you know that reading anyway…but it’s different when you hear it I guess).  Some of our characters are real potty-mouths.  Also, the innuendos were easily read past in the book, however they are much more clear and present in the audio book because of the personalities and inflections of the voice.

The Verdict:  I still hold to my original rating, but I would like to bump this up to good for older teen’s rather than a clean book.